Nats not trustworthy

Written By: - Date published: 9:30 am, May 29th, 2010 - 47 comments
Categories: bill english, Ethics, john key, national - Tags: , ,

Of his not so blind holdings in Whitechapel Ltd, Key says:

“All this means that I have no beneficial interest in Whitechapel Ltd, which is central to Labour’s claims of a conflict of interest.”

This is weasel speak by the PM. We have heard such things before from the Deputy PM, when Bill English was trying to squirm his way clear of his accommodation rort:

“I didn’t have a pecuniary interest in the trust, I never have had, I don’t now and I don’t have any other interests in it.”

“Pecuniary interest” is typically taken to include direct, indirect or shared profit, to the individual or to immediate family sharing the same household. English tried to pull a swiftie by using the term to mean “doesn’t have to be listed in the MP’s Register of Pecuniary Interests”. The criteria for listing a trust depends on a term with a much narrower definition. A trust only needs to be listed if the member has a “beneficial interest”: “an enforceable, proprietary interest in the trust property. Examples of a proprietary interest include ownership and a right to possession or occupation”. Thats a definition so narrow that you can drive a truck round it, which is what English was trying to do.

Well, Bill got caught. The Auditor General found for a common sense reading of “pecuniary interest” and that Bill did have an interest in the trust (see my post here, strangely the AG’s report has disappeared from its parent directory – why? – but Google shows the crucial text of the ruling widely reported).

Looks to me like Key is trying the same trick with “beneficial interest”, using narrow legalese to try and sell a broader lie. Key’s assets are supposed to be blind to him. Before the 3 News report he claimed that they were blind. Now he is claiming something much much narrower. Why?

Big picture, it’s starting to look like the Nats systematically abuse trusts. English and the Endeavour Trust to rort the accommodation allowance. Key and Aldgate / Whitechapel with distinctly dodgy looking connections to decisions on alcohol law. And the whole National Party with Waitemata and Ruahine trusts to anonymise donations and subvert the purpose of the 2005 electoral law. It stinks. It stinks from top to bottom. The whole damn stables needs a good clean out. Start by referring Key’s case to the Auditor General.

47 comments on “Nats not trustworthy ”

  1. Tigger 1

    Over on Stuff Tracey (where is my bullet proof jacket?) Watkins is trying to shut the entire debate down… I guess she really wants a seat on Key’s plane for his next secret trip.

  2. ianmac 2

    If the shares in Algate/Whitechapel were sold tomorrow for cash, who would get the money?
    If the Key family benefits then the trust is a farce.
    If Key knew what was in his portfolio before the Trusts, then he would know after the Trusts were formed and could, or there would be the perception of acting accordingly during policy/legislation.
    (Wonder if Joyce has an interest in Roading Companies?)

    • Jim Nald 2.1

      Dear Watkins
      It’s quite simple
      When his trust is blind, he can see
      When his Government is transparent, you can’t see
      Yours lovingly, Sherlock

  3. Gosman 3

    So you disagree with the legal advice that John Key has received on the matter?

    http://www.beehive.govt.nz/release/advice+refutes+labour039s+conflict+allegations

    If so then perhaps you have some other legal advice which supports your position?

    I think I’ll be waiting a long long time to see anything like that from any of you lot.

    • Lanthanide 3.1

      Try harder, Gosman. The point this post, and the previous post, was making, is that the legal advice is not actually addressing Labour’s point. We aren’t saying the legal advice is wrong, we’re saying it’s irrelevant.

      It’s not a blind trust if you can look up the companies register and see what is in the trust. What is important is that you can see that assets in it, and Key claimed that there was no possible way of him knowing what was in there – a lie or deception or incompetence, and together with swiftly ruling out rising the excise tax on alcohol a clear potential for conflict of interest.

      • Gosman 3.1.1

        Do you have a problem with how all blind trusts are set up or just John Key’s one?

        If it is John Key’s blind trust then there must be something legally wrong with it if it is not truly blind. What is this issue?

        BTW any law changes on alcohol are likely to be put to a conscience vote. Therefore it matters not a lot what John Key thinks on this.

        • Ari 3.1.1.1

          I have a problem that he’s trying to say he’s unaware of his assets and thus doesn’t need to take precautions against conflicts of interest when he clearly IS aware of his assets and therefore DOES need to take precautions. Key campaigned on bringing a higher standard of accountability, transparency, and lower tolerance for corruption to the Beehive. He set his own standards at squeaky clean, and if he can’t live up to them he needs to resign, even if he is still legally in the clear, because this was a central pillar of his campaign.

          • Jim Nald 3.1.1.1.1

            Will the PM ask John Key to resign? If he (the latter) is not blind to him (the former)?

            He (the latter … oh well all right, or the former) might have to get another legal advice.

            Maybe the Tourism Minister should be consulted in parallel.

            Wait, is there another issue in the news to jump on. Ok ok, for the former. Or the latter. Or the third??

    • Marty G 3.2

      how come the lawyer’s letter says Key has no ‘beneficial interest’ in Aldgate while Key’s entry in the pecuniary interests register says he does?

      The letter fails to provide a reason for Whitechapel to exist, other than to let people who know about it see what is in Aldgate.

      • Anita 3.2.1

        This is something I have been wondering about… Highwater Vineyards has to publicly list its shareholding, so something had to be listed for that parcel of shares didn’t it?

        So how could a blind trust ever be truly blind?

        I’m sure there’s lawyer and accountant tricks I’m unaware of, but I have been wondering…

        • mickysavage 3.2.1.1

          You can have a general trust company (for instance) that owns various properties and shares on trust for various beneficiaries. Guardian Trust is an example. Although you can see that Guardian may own some shares you do not know who Guardian owns those shares in trust for.

          A number of law firms have trustee companies set up to do this.

    • Eric C. 3.3

      From the Cabinet Manual – Conduct, public duty, and personal interests section:

      “Ministers are responsible for ensuring that no conflict exists or appears to exist between their personal interests and their public duty. Ministers must conduct themselves at all times in the knowledge that their role is a public one; appearances and propriety can be as important as an actual conflict of interest.”

      The test is not a legal one. It is a test of the Cabinet Manual policies that John Key and his ministers promised to follow when they became ministers.

      John Key needs to explain why he failed this test.

      • Gosman 3.3.1

        The only percveived conflict of interest at the moment is the one dreamt up by the Labour party in a vain attempt to smear the PM.

        If there is an actual conflict of interest then the Speaker will institute an investigation. When he fails to do so it will be interesting to see how you guy’s spin this.

        Pretty much gutter politics but I suppose that is par for the course from Phil Goff’s Labour party.

        • Eric C. 3.3.1.1

          The Speaker is not going to investigate the leader of his own party. Everyone already knows that. Turkey’s don’t vote for an early Christmas.

          • Gosman 3.3.1.1.1

            The Speaker would not be doing his job then. I expect an competent opposition will call for his resignation in that case.

            If the Labour party doesn’t call for the Speakers resignation on this issue if he fails to act then they would be incompetent wouldn’t you agree?

            [lprent: Looking at your comments, you are deliberately flood trolling – 2 week ban.

            There is no content, often no reference to the comments you’re replying to, and no attempt to engage in debate. Basically you’re acting like a dickhead troll.

            I’m also going to unapprove a number of your comments in this session where other people haven’t replied and where you have essentially repeated yourself.]

            • Eric C. 3.3.1.1.1.1

              You are hilarious, Gos. You keep moving the goal posts don’t you? The opposition has to do this, no they have to prove that, no wait they have to do something else.

              John Key has a responsibility to avoid the appearance of a conflict of interest. He failed and that is a consistent line.

  4. Jim Nald 4

    Call a spade a spade
    A blind trust that isn’t blind to him

  5. Bill 5

    Repeating myself here, but the fact that Johnny was a part of a decision on alcohol taxation that most people are bloody happy with makes it not so wise to try to ping him him on the wine shares. The rights and wrongs are bye the bye I’m afraid.

    Hanging the whole trust issue on the wine is a really bad idea.

    What about the other share parcels?

    What’s there and what are the potential abuses of those? Why are the vineyard shares not being used as a vehicle to access this trust stuff rather than as a static point of contention…one that most people will happily turn a blind eye to because they themselves benefit?

    A couple of days ago I posted a link to a 3 month old video where a wine taster states quite openly his knowledge that Johnny had interests in the wine industry. And if people pay less for alcohol because of that ( and I don’t actually think that’s the case) then people will be thankful to Johnny and anti those who would have them view it otherwise.

    • Marty G 5.1

      It’s a conflict of interest whether you agree with the decisions or not.

      • Jim Nald 5.1.1

        Perhaps there is a desperate hope that there are some many conflicts, all over the place, that they cancel out each other. Poof. Gone. Magic.

      • Gosman 5.1.2

        No it’s not unless you have evidence which proves John Key knows about the relationship his trust has to Whitechapple. Do you have any hard evidence on this or just your politically biased assumption?

        • Anita 5.1.2.1

          The link between Key and Whitechapel is entirely in the public arena.

          Either Key knew or he is stupid – take your pick.

        • rod 5.1.2.2

          What’s that old saying. There’s none so blind as them that can’t see.

      • Bill 5.1.3

        I agree that it’s a conflict of interest regardless Marty, but these things need a head of steam coming from public outrage, disquiet or whatever to go anywhere.

        And even if the lack of tax on alcohol is simply and only because Johnny Boy has interests in the wine industry it, at best, simply does not matter in the eyes of the public. And it doesn’t matter because everybody has an eye for a wee bit of an advantage. And if Johnny engineered his advantage and everybody else came out better off as a consequence then most people are not going to begrudge him his ‘good fortune’.

        And that means there will be no building of a head of steam in the gen pop.

        However, if the other parcels are in areas that could lead to Johnny Boy engineering an advantage that doesn’t spill out to the rest of us in some way or other…and it can be suggested or explained in a way that generates a sense of outrage, then we are in a different game.

        All that aside.

        If the trust was blind, actually blind, then it sure as hell isn’t now. Which means what? That he ( or his agent) has to set up another blind trust, get rid of the shares or what?

        • Jim Nald 5.1.3.1

          hm hmm ….. waiting for the JoKer to think ….. hmmm …..

          1. Grow another blind trust and eye
          2. Reincarnate to Ear-less of Auckland

          3. Try to stop the lengthening nose

          4. When media calls, get Joyce to say cat cut my tongue

  6. Ed 6

    John Key’s ‘leap for the lawyer’ tells us that he is more concerned with strict legal interpretation than honesty, transparency, and ethical behaviour. The Nats are predictably consistent in their contempt for laws they do not think should apply to them.

    Since shares in a ‘blind trust’ will still be registered to someone, perhaps it would be useful to hear how it is supposed to be done. Are ‘blind trusts’ the reason for the large bank nominee companies?

  7. ianmac 7

    If I worked in the IRD wouldn’t it be interesting to find out how much tax Key pays for something he doesn’t own?

    • Gosman 7.1

      So how would you prove from what sources he pays tax on, even if you did work for the IRD?

      • ianmac 7.1.1

        I don’t know Gosman. Haven’t a clue. But at the very least the ongoing discussion, although about your mate Key, does illuminate more about the Trust problem for MPs and us.
        No Right Turn sums it up rather well:
        http://norightturn.blogspot.com/

  8. deemac 8

    The easy ride Key is getting from the media reveals how useless they are – when all the main newspapers are owned by wealthy people who back the Nats, what chance anything critical gets a fair airing?

  9. jcuknz 9

    Oh yes Deemac lets add a conspiracy theory to this storm in a tiny teacup.

  10. Crashcart 10

    As some one who voted for Key and truly regrets it now (especially after this swindle of a budget) I have been agonizing over where my vote should go. ACT is a bunch of loons, no doubt about that. The greens are to narrow in their focus and a little to far to the left. This leaves me with Labour. I have never voted labour in my life. Recent work by the party especially around the mother of all swindles, I mean budgets, was making me more comfortable with that vote.

    This issue however just reminds me about one of the things I hated the most about the labour party towards the end of its tenure. It is spinning up virtually nothing to try to throw mud that will never stick and drawing focus away from that fact that there are real policy issues they can hammer this lame duck of a government on.

    Honestly when you have to resort to arguments based on a bunch of ifs and still only come down to him not doing anything illegal but maybe dishonest then you are drawing your bow-string much to far.

    Please for gods sake Labour. Stick to what you are good at. Attack the policies that make the rich richer off of the back of an ever increasing wage gap. Leave this petty gutter politics in the past where it belongs. If you think this is the way to fight the next election then you will entrench your current support at the cost of swing voters.

  11. ianmac 11

    Crashcart I don’t believe you!

    • Jim Nald 11.1

      They think you’re blind
      They think you’re deaf
      They think you’re dumb
      Keep up the good work and don’t crash too many carts

    • felix 11.2

      “crashcart” you sound so concerned.

    • Crashcart 11.3

      I’m not sure what you don’t believe. I am the first to admit that I have always been a National voter. I was raised that way. I voted for Key and his gang of idiots in the last election and I realise that tar’s me with the same brush. I have however watched what this Government does with growing concern. I think the final straw that convinced me I couldn’t vote for them any more was Blinglish proving that they were just a bunch of greedy pricks who couldn’t wait to get their noses in the trough. I really am becoming more comfortable with the idea that a center left government is what is best for this country (a lot of the links on this very sight have given me valuble information on the problems caused by countries with a high level of inequality).

      What I am saying in my post is that if you are going to try and hang Key personally you are going to need something water tight and truely daming. He has far to many people convinced that he is that nice kid made good who gives his wages to charity and does his job for the love of the country. I have no doubt its a load of bollocks but you need something solid to prove it. All I have seen here is “IF” he signed the transfer of shares, and “IF” he were to look at the holdings of Whitechapel then he still wouldn’t have done anything illegal but it “MIGHT” be dishonest.

      I am sure that he is smart enough to have set his affairs up in a way that allows himself to claim no conflict yet still allows him to keep an eye on what he has. The problem is you can never prove that he did. It will always be Labours word against his and I’m sorry but he has the nice guy image down pat so Labour will lose that fight.

      By all means try and find out all the holdings both on and off shore and see if there is a trend to making decisions that benefit him. If you could find it you would be able to hang him. By trying to blast him on one “MIGHT BE” conflict you shoot your credabiulity down. Dig away at what he is doing to this country in his job as PM where he has no defence. That is the battle that can be won.

      • travellerev 11.3.1

        CC,

        What would you think would be really damning to the average Kiwi voter?

        • Crashcart 11.3.1.1

          Are you asking me to do research to try to find something that will stick? Or do you want me to draw a line in the sand that will let you know what will and won’t stick? Sorry but I can’t give you either.

          You know what will give you an answer to the second? The poll’s. Hate them or love them. They are a representation of what sort of traction you are getting. If this truely sticks and burns Key I will be the first to stand up and say I am wrong. I will be surprised, but wrong.

          • travellerev 11.3.1.1.1

            How about direct proof John Key was involved in a $ 300 million attack of Andrew Krieger on the NZ dollar three days after the ’87 market crash which cost many Kiwi’s their life savings and fortunes. How about John Key being instrumental for Merrill Lynch in the development and sales of derivatives now destroying our financial system or how about John Key being involved in the LTCM hedge fund scandal responsible for the Asian crisis (also costing plenty of Kiwi’s their life savings in the late 90’s.

            Would that do the trick?

      • Draco T Bastard 11.3.2

        As has been said – it’s the perception. But in this case it’s a perception based on a verifiable fact – he can see inside his blind trust.

  12. Santi 12

    “My government will not raise GST”.
    “My government will not impose new taxes”.
    “My government will abolish the Maori seats”.
    “Working For Families is socialism by stealth”.

    Lies and more lies from the well-trained liar, John Key,

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    The US Supreme Court has been rogue for years, with openly corrupt judges making the law up as they go to suit themselves, their billionaire buyers, and the Republican Party. But now, in the wake of them granting a licence for tyranny, President Biden is actually going to try and ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    4 days ago
  • Climate Change: False accounting and wishful thinking

    National released their draft 2026-2030 Emissions Reduction Plan today. The plan is required under the Zero Carbon Act, and must set out policies and strategies to meet the relevant emissions budget. Having cancelled all Labour's actually effective climate change policies and crashed the carbon price, National was always going to ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    4 days ago
  • The Enemies Of Sunshine And Space.

    Our Houses? The Urban Density debate is a horrible combination of intergenerational avarice and envy, fuelled by the grim certainty that none of the generations coming up after them will ever have it as good as the Boomers. To say that this situation rankles among those born after 1965 is to ...
    4 days ago
  • Still the 5 Eyes Achilles Heel?

    The National Cyber Security Centre (NZSC), a unit in the Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB) dedicated to cyber-security, has released a Review of its response to the 2021 email hacking of NZ members of the Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China (IPAC, … Continue reading ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    4 days ago
  • Britain's Devastating Electoral Slip.

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    4 days ago
  • Gordon Campbell on why right wingers think all governments (including their own) are incompetent

    Since open denial of climate change is no longer a viable political option, denial now comes in disguise. The release this week of the coalition government’s ‘draft emissions reductions plan” shows that the Luxon government is refusing to see the need to cut emissions at source. Instead, it proposes to ...
    WerewolfBy lyndon
    4 days ago
  • The Kākā's Chorus for Wednesday, July 17

    TL;DR: The top six things I’ve noted around housing, climate and poverty in Aotearoa’s political economy this morning are:Chris Penk is set to roll back building standards for insulation that had only just been put in place, and which had been estimated to save 40% from power costs, after builders ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    4 days ago
  • Open Letter to Pharmac

    All this talk of getting oldIt's getting me down, my loveLike a cat in a bag, waiting to drownThis time I'm coming downAnd I hope you're thinking of meAs you lay down on your sideNow the drugs don't workThey just make you worse but I know I'll see your face ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    4 days ago
  • A blanket of misinformation

    Two old sayings have been on my mind lately. The first is: “The pen is mightier than the sword”, describing the power of language and communication to help or to harm. The other, which captures the speed with which falsehoods can become ingrained and hard to undo, is: “A lie can ...
    Greater AucklandBy Connor Sharp
    4 days ago
  • The Kākā’s Pick 'n' Mix for Wednesday, July 17

    TL;DR: My pick of the top six links elsewhere around housing, climate and poverty in Aotearoa’s political economy in the last day to 7:00 am on Wednesday, July 17 are:Scoop: Government considers rolling back home insulation standards RNZ’s Eloise GibsonNews: Government plans tree-planting frenzy as report shows NZ no longer ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    4 days ago
  • The Kākā’s Journal of Record for Wednesday, July 17

    TL;DR: As of 6:00 am on Wednesday, July 17 , the top six announcements, speeches, reports and research around housing, climate and poverty in Aotearoa’s political economy in the last day were:Simon Watts released the Government’s draft Emissions Reduction Plan (ERP), which included proposed changes to the Emissions Trading Scheme ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    4 days ago
  • “Shhhh” – National's 3 Waters is loaded with higher costs and lays a path to ...

    This is a long, possibly technical, but very, very important read. I encourage you to take the time and spread your awareness.IntroductionIn 2022, then Labour Party Prime Minister Jacinda Adern expended significant political capital to protect New Zealand’s water assets from privatisation. She lost that battle, and Labour and the ...
    Mountain TuiBy Mountain Tui
    5 days ago
  • Plugging a video channel: Dr Gilbz

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    5 days ago
  • Some “scrutiny” again

    Back in 2022, in its Open Government Partnership National Action Plan, the government promised to strengthen scrutiny of Official Information Act exemption clauses in legislation. Since then they've run a secret "consultation" on how to do that, with their preferred outcome being that agencies will consult the Ministry of Justice ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • Crashing New Zealand's health system is not the way to prosperity, Prime Minister

    Another day, and yet another piece of bad news for New Zealand’s health system. Reports have come out that General Practitioners (GP) may have to close doors, or increase patient fees to survive. The so-called ‘capitation’ funding review, which supports GP practices to survive, is under way, and primary care ...
    Mountain TuiBy Mountain Tui
    5 days ago
  • Closer Than You Think: Ageing Boomers, Laurie & Les, Talk Politics.

    Redefining Our Terms: “When an angry majority is demanding change, defending the status-quo is an extremist position.”“WHAT’S THIS?”, asked Laurie, eyeing suspiciously the two glasses of red wine deposited in front of him.“A nice drop of red. I thought you’d be keen to celebrate the French Far-Right’s victory with the ...
    5 days ago
  • Come on Darleen.

    Good morning all, time for a return to things domestic. After elections in the UK and France, Luxon gatecrashing Nato, and the attempted shooting of Trump, it’s probably about time we re-focus on local politics.Unless of course you’re Christopher Luxon and you’re so exhausted from all your schmoozing in Washington ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    5 days ago
  • How the Northwest was lost and may be won

    This is a guest post by Darren Davis. It originally appeared on his excellent blog, Adventures in Transitland, which we encourage you to check out. It is shared by kind permission. The Northwest has always been Auckland’s public transport Cinderella, rarely invited to the public funding ball. How did ...
    Greater AucklandBy Guest Post
    5 days ago
  • The Kākā's Chorus for Tuesday July 16

    Luxon has told a Financial Times’ correspondent he would openly call out China’s spying in future and does not fear economic retaliation from Aotearoa’s largest trading partner.File Photo: Lynn Grieveson / The KākāTL;DR: The top six things I’ve noted around housing, climate and poverty in Aotearoa’s political economy on Tuesday, ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    5 days ago
  • The Kākā’s Pick 'n' Mix for Tuesday, July 16

    TL;DR: My pick of the top six links elsewhere around housing, climate and poverty in Aotearoa’s political economy in the last day or so to 6:00 am on Tuesday, July 16 are:PM Christopher Luxon has given a very hawkish interview to the Financial Times-$$$ correspondent in Washington, Demetri Sevastopulu, saying ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    5 days ago
  • The Kākā’s Journal of Record for Tuesday, July 16

    Photo by Ryunosuke Kikuno on UnsplashTL;DR: The top six announcements, speeches, reports and research around housing, climate and poverty in Aotearoa’s political economy in the last day to 6:00 am are:BNZ released its Performance of Services Index for June, finding that services sector is at its lowest level of activity ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    5 days ago
  • The second crisis; assumption was the mother

    Late on the night of July 16, 1984, while four National Cabinet Ministers were meeting in the Beehive office of Deputy Prime Minister Jim McLay, plotting the ultimate downfall of outgoing Prime Minister Sir Robert Muldoon, another crisis was building up in another part of the capital. The United States ...
    PolitikBy Richard Harman
    6 days ago
  • Can we air condition our way out of extreme heat?

    This is a re-post from The Climate Brink by Andrew Dessler Air conditioning was initially a symbol of comfort and wealth, enjoyed by the wealthy in theaters and upscale homes. Over time, as technology advanced and costs decreased, air conditioning became more accessible to the general public. With global warming, though, ...
    6 days ago
  • Review: The Zimiamvian Trilogy, by E.R. Eddison (1935-1958)

    I have reviewed some fairly obscure stuff on this blog. Nineteenth century New Zealand speculative fiction. Forgotten Tolkien adaptations. George MacDonald and William Morris. Last month I took a look at The Worm Ouroboros (1922), by E.R. Eddison, which while not strictly obscure, is also not overly inviting to many ...
    6 days ago
  • Media Link: AVFA on the Trump assassination attempt.

    In this episode of “A View from Afar” Selwyn Manning and I discuss the attempt on Donald Trump’s life and its implications for the US elections. The political darkness grows. ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    6 days ago
  • Law & Order: National Party 1, Police 0, Public -1

    What happened?Media is reporting that police have lost in their pay dispute with the Coalition Government.Some of you might remember that the police rejected Labour’s previous offer in September, 2023, possibly looking forward to be taken care of by the self-touted ‘Party of Law and Order’ - National.If you look ...
    Mountain TuiBy Mountain Tui
    6 days ago
  • Gordon Campbell on the Trump shooting and a potential hike in fees for visiting the doctor

    Having watched Donald Trump systematically exploit social grievances, urge people not to accept his election loss and incite his followers to violent insurrection… it is a bit hard to swallow the media descriptions over the past 24 hours of Trump being a “victim” of violence. More like a case of ...
    WerewolfBy lyndon
    6 days ago
  • The Kākā's Chorus for Monday July 15

    The exploitation of workers on the national fibre broadband rollout highlights once again the dark underbelly of our ‘churn and burn’ economy. Photo: Lynn Grieveson / The KākāTL;DR: The top six things I’ve noted around housing, climate and poverty in Aotearoa’s political economy today are:An extraordinary Steve Kilgallon investigation into ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    6 days ago
  • The Kākā’s Pick 'n' Mix for Monday, July 15

    Photo by Jessica Loaiza on UnsplashTL;DR: My pick of the top six links elsewhere around housing, climate and poverty in Aotearoa’s political economy in the last three days to 9:00 am on Monday, July 15 are:Investigation: Immigration NZ refused to prosecute an alleged exploiter despite a mountain of evidence - ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    6 days ago
  • City Centre Rebuild: How Soon Is Now?

    Patrick Reynolds is deputy chair of the City Centre Advisory Panel and a director of Greater Auckland There is ongoing angst about construction disruption in the city centre. And fair enough: it’s very tough, CRL and other construction has been going on for a very long time. Like the pandemic, ...
    Greater AucklandBy Patrick Reynolds
    6 days ago
  • Peril, dismay, resolution

    This afternoon we rolled into Budapest to bring to a close our ride across Europe. We did 144 km yesterday, severe heat messages coming in from the weather app as we bounced along unformed Hungarian back roads and a road strip strewn with fallen trees from an overnight tornado. Somewhere ...
    More Than A FeildingBy David Slack
    6 days ago
  • Bullet the Blue Sky

    In the locust windComes a rattle and humJacob wrestled the angelAnd the angel was overcomeYou plant a demon seedYou raise a flower of fireWe see them burnin' crossesSee the flames, higher and higherBullet the blue skyBullet the blue skyThe indelible images, the soundtrack of America. Guns, assassinations, where-were-you-when moments attached ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    6 days ago
  • The Kākā’s Journal of Record for Monday, July 15

    TL;DR: The top six announcements, rulings, reports, surveys, statistics and research around housing, climate and poverty in Aotearoa’s political economy in the three days to 6:00 am on Monday, July 23 are:University of Auckland researcher Ryan Greenaway-McGrevy published an analysis of the impact of Auckland's 2016 zoning reforms.BNZ's latest Performance ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    6 days ago
  • The Kākā’s diary for the week to July 23 and beyond

    TL;DR: The six key events to watch in Aotearoa-NZ’s political economy in the week to July 23 include:PM Christopher Luxon has returned from a trip to the United States and may hold a post-Cabinet news conference at 4:00 pm today.The BusinessNZ-BNZ PSI survey results for June will be released this ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    6 days ago
  • Was The Assassination Attempt Fake?

    Hi,It’s in incredible photo, and we’re going to be talking about it for a long time:Trump, triumphantly raising his hand in the air after being shot. Photo credit: Evan VucciYou can watch what happened on YouTube in real time, as a 20-year-old from Pennsylvania lets off a series of gunshots ...
    David FarrierBy David Farrier
    6 days ago
  • 40 years ago, inside the crisis that made modern NZ

    It had rained all day in Auckland, and the Metro Theatre in Mangere was steamed up inside as more and more people arrived to celebrate what had once seemed impossible. Sir Robert Muldoon had lost the 1984 election. “Piggy” Muldoon was no more. Such was the desire to get rid ...
    PolitikBy Richard Harman
    6 days ago
  • 2024 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #28

    A listing of 34 news and opinion articles we found interesting and shared on social media during the past week: Sun, July 7, 2024 thru Sat, July 13, 2024. Story of the week It's still early summer in the Northern Hemisphere. The season comes as our first year of 1.5°C warming ...
    7 days ago
  • Unsurprising, but Trump shooting creates opportunity for a surprising response

    I can’t say I’m shocked. As the US news networks offer rolling coverage dissecting the detail of today’s shooting at a Donald Trump rally in Butler, Pennsylvania, and we hear eye-witnesses trying to make sense of their trauma, the most common word being used is shock. And shocking it is. ...
    PunditBy Tim Watkin
    1 week ago
  • Escalation in the States as Trump is shot and his allies capitalize on the moment

    Snapshot summary of the shooting in the States belowAnd a time to remember what Abraham Lincoln once said of the United States of America:We find ourselves in the peaceful possession of the fairest portion of the earth, as regards extent of territory, fertility of soil, and salubrity of climate. We ...
    Mountain TuiBy Mountain Tui
    1 week ago
  • Bernie Sanders: Joe Biden for President

    I will do all that I can to see that President Biden is re-elected. Why? Despite my disagreements with him on particular issues, he has been the most effective president in the modern history of our country and is the strongest candidate to defeat Donald Trump — a demagogue and ...
    Mountain TuiBy Mountain Tui
    1 week ago
  • Questions from God

    Have you invited God into your online life? Do you have answers for his questions? Did I just assume God’s pronouns?Before this goes any further, or gets too blasphemous, a word of explanation. When I say “God”, I don’t meant your god(s), if you have one/them. The God I speak ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    1 week ago
  • The politics of money and influence

    Did you know: Four days ago, the CEO of Warner Bros Discovery (WBD), David Zaslav, opined that he didn’t really care who won the US Presidential election, so long as they were M&A and business friendly. Please share my Substack so I can continue my work. Thank you and happy ...
    Mountain TuiBy Mountain Tui
    1 week ago
  • Auckland & Transport Minister Simeon Brown's insanity

    Excuse me, but I just don’t feel like being polite today. What is going on with Simeon Brown? I mean, really? After spending valuable Ministerial time, focus, and government resources to overturn tailored speed limits in school and high fatality zones that *checks notes* reduces the risk of deaths and ...
    Mountain TuiBy Mountain Tui
    1 week ago
  • Were scientists caught falsifying data in the hacked emails incident dubbed 'climategate'?

    Skeptical Science is partnering with Gigafact to produce fact briefs — bite-sized fact checks of trending claims. This fact brief was written by John Mason in collaboration with members from the Gigafact team. You can submit claims you think need checking via the tipline. Were scientists caught falsifying data in the ...
    1 week ago

  • Oceans and Fisheries Minister to Solomons

    Oceans and Fisheries Minister Shane Jones is travelling to the Solomon Islands tomorrow for meetings with his counterparts from around the Pacific supporting collective management of the region’s fisheries. The 23rd Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Committee and the 5th Regional Fisheries Ministers’ Meeting in Honiara from 23 to 26 July ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Government launches Military Style Academy Pilot

    The Government today launched the Military Style Academy Pilot at Te Au rere a te Tonga Youth Justice residence in Palmerston North, an important part of the Government’s plan to crackdown on youth crime and getting youth offenders back on track, Minister for Children, Karen Chhour said today. “On the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Nine priority bridge replacements to get underway

    The Government has welcomed news the NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) has begun work to replace nine priority bridges across the country to ensure our state highway network remains resilient, reliable, and efficient for road users, Transport Minister Simeon Brown says.“Increasing productivity and economic growth is a key priority for the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Update on global IT outage

    Acting Prime Minister David Seymour has been in contact throughout the evening with senior officials who have coordinated a whole of government response to the global IT outage and can provide an update. The Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet has designated the National Emergency Management Agency as the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • New Zealand, Japan renew Pacific partnership

    New Zealand and Japan will continue to step up their shared engagement with the Pacific, Foreign Minister Winston Peters says.    “New Zealand and Japan have a strong, shared interest in a free, open and stable Pacific Islands region,” Mr Peters says.    “We are pleased to be finding more ways ...
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    2 days ago
  • New infrastructure energises BOP forestry towns

    New developments in the heart of North Island forestry country will reinvigorate their communities and boost economic development, Regional Development Minister Shane Jones says. Mr Jones visited Kaingaroa and Kawerau in Bay of Plenty today to open a landmark community centre in the former and a new connecting road in ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • 'Pacific Futures'

    President Adeang, fellow Ministers, honourable Diet Member Horii, Ambassadors, distinguished guests.    Minasama, konnichiwa, and good afternoon, everyone.    Distinguished guests, it’s a pleasure to be here with you today to talk about New Zealand’s foreign policy reset, the reasons for it, the values that underpin it, and how it ...
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    2 days ago
  • Delivering 24 hour pothole repairs

    Kiwis and freight operators will benefit from the Coalition Government delivering on its commitment to introduce targets that will ensure a greater number of potholes on our state highways are identified and fixed within 24 hours, Transport Minister Simeon Brown says.  “Increasing productivity to help rebuild our economy is a key ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Peer Support Specialists rolled out in hospitals

    Five hospitals have been selected to trial a new mental health and addiction peer support service in their emergency departments as part of the Government’s commitment to increase access to mental health and addiction support for New Zealanders, says Mental Health Minister Matt Doocey.  “Peer Support Specialists in EDs will ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Consultation opens for the Emissions Reduction Plan

    The Government’s draft Emissions Reduction Plan shows we can stay within the limits of the first two emissions budgets while growing the economy, Climate Change Minister Simon Watts says. “This draft Emissions Reduction Plan shows that with effective climate change policies we can both grow the economy and deliver our ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Benefit stats highlight need for welfare reset

    The coalition Government is providing extra support for job seekers to ensure as many Kiwis as possible are in work or preparing for work, Social Development and Employment Minister Louise Upston says. “While today’s quarterly data showing a rise in the number of people on Jobseeker benefits has been long ...
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    3 days ago
  • School attendance continues to increase

    Provisional school attendance data for Term 2 2024 released today has shown more students are back in class compared to last year, with 53.1 per cent of students regularly attending, compared with 47 per cent in Term 2 2023, Associate Education Minister David Seymour says. “The Government has prioritised student ...
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    3 days ago
  • $22.7m of West Coast resilience projects underway

    Transport Minister Simeon Brown has welcomed news of progress being made by the NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) on the first of several crucial resilience projects underway on the South Island’s West Coast.“State highways across the West Coast are critical lifelines for communities throughout the region, including for freight and tourism. ...
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    3 days ago
  • Migrant school leavers to get part-time work rights

    The coalition Government is providing migrant school leavers with greater opportunities, by increasing access to part-time work rights for those awaiting the outcome of a family residence application, Immigration Minister Erica Stanford has announced.  “Many young people who are part of a family residence application process are unable to work. ...
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    4 days ago
  • Funding to support use of NZ Sign Language

    Seven projects have received government funding totalling nearly $250,000 to maintain and promote the use of New Zealand Sign Language (NZSL). Initiatives that received an NZSL Board Community Grants this year include camps that support the use of NZSL through physical and sensory activities, and clubs where Deaf people and ...
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    4 days ago
  • Inflation data shows progress in economic recovery

    Today’s Consumer Price Index data which has inflation at 3.3 per cent for the year to July 2024, shows we are turning our economy around and winning the fight against rampant inflation, Finance Minister Nicola Willis says.  “While today’s data will be welcome news for Kiwis, I know many New ...
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    4 days ago
  • Experts to advise Minister on Oranga Tamariki

    The Oranga Tamariki Ministerial Advisory Board has been re-established by the Minister for Children, Karen Chhour. “I look forward to working with the new board to continue to ensure Oranga Tamariki and the care and protection system, are entirely child centric,” Minister Chhour says. “The board will provide independent advice ...
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    5 days ago
  • Expectations set for improved medicines access

    Associate Health Minister David Seymour says he has set clear expectations for Pharmac around delivering the medicines and medical technology that Kiwis need.  “For many New Zealanders, funding for pharmaceuticals is life or death, or the difference between a life of pain and suffering or living freely. New cancer medicines ...
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    5 days ago
  • Regional Development Minister to host summits

    Regional Development Minister Shane Jones will hold a series of nationwide summits to discuss regional priorities, aspirations and opportunities, with the first kicking off in Nelson on August 12. The 15 summits will facilitate conversations about progressing regional economic growth and opportunities to drive productivity, prosperity and resilience through the ...
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    5 days ago
  • Government delivers new school for Rolleston

    The Coalition Government is addressing growing demands on Canterbury’s school network, by delivering a new primary school in Rolleston, Education Minister Erica Stanford says. Within Budget 24’s $400 million investment into school property growth, construction will begin on a new primary school (years 1-8) in Selwyn, Canterbury.  Rolleston South Primary ...
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    5 days ago
  • New speed camera signs to improve safety

    The Government is welcoming the rollout of new speed camera signs for fixed speed cameras to encourage drivers to check their speeds, improving road safety and avoiding costly speeding tickets, Transport Minister Simeon Brown says. “Providing Kiwis with an opportunity to check their speed and slow down in high crash areas ...
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    5 days ago
  • NZ, Korea strengthen relationship

    New Zealand and the Republic of Korea continue to strengthen their relationship, Foreign Minister Winston Peters says.   “New Zealand and Korea have a long history – from New Zealand soldiers fighting in the Korean War, through to our strong cooperation today as partners supporting the international rules-based order.    ...
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    6 days ago
  • Investing for future growth in tourism and hospitality

    The Government is moving forward with recommendations from the Tourism Data Leadership Group, beginning with establishing a Tourism Data Partnership Fund says Tourism and Hospitality Minister Matt Doocey. “The Tourism Data Partnership Fund is funded through the International Visitor Conservation and Tourism Levy (IVL) and will provide up to $400,000 ...
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    6 days ago
  • 4000 more job seekers to get case managers

    A new over-the-phone employment case management service will see thousands more job seekers under the age of 25 supported to find work, Social Development and Employment Minister Louise Upston has announced. “MSD case managers provide valuable support to help people into work, but less than a third of those receiving ...
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    6 days ago
  • Trade Minister to attend G7 meeting in Italy

    Trade Minister Todd McClay will attend the Group of Seven (G7) Trade Ministers meeting in Reggio Calabria, Italy next week. This is the first time New Zealand has been invited to join the event, which will be attended by some of the world’s largest economies and many of New Zealand’s ...
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    1 week ago
  • Ministers reveal consequences for unruly Kāinga Ora tenants

    Ministers are pleased to see Kāinga Ora taking a stronger approach to managing unruly, threatening or abusive tenants, Housing Minister Chris Bishop and Associate Housing Minister Tama Potaka say.    “For far too long, a small number of Kāinga Ora tenants have ridden roughshod over their neighbours because, under Kāinga ...
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    1 week ago
  • Prime Minister wraps up US visit in California

    Prime Minister Christopher Luxon has finished a successful four-day visit to the United States with meetings in California on his final day focusing on innovation and investment.  “It has been fantastic to be in San Francisco today seeing first-hand the deepening links between New Zealand and California. “New Zealand company, EV Maritime, ...
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    1 week ago
  • Prime Minister leads Indo-Pacific Four at NATO

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    1 week ago
  • District Court judges appointed

    Attorney-General Hon Judith Collins today announced the appointment of three new District Court Judges.   The appointees, who will take up their roles in July and August at the Manukau, Rotorua and Invercargill courts, are:   Matthew Nathan Judge Nathan was admitted to bar in New Zealand in 2021, having previously been ...
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    1 week ago
  • Urgent review into Wairoa flood response begins

    Environment Minister, Penny Simmonds today announced the terms of reference for a rapid review into the Wairoa flood response. “The Wairoa community has raised significant concerns about the management of the Wairoa River bar and the impact this had on flooding of properties in the district,” says Ms Simmonds. “The Government ...
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    1 week ago
  • NZDF’s Red Sea deployment extended

    New Zealand has extended its contribution to the US-led coalition working to uphold maritime security in the Red Sea, Defence Minister Judith Collins and Foreign Minister Winston Peters announced today. “The decision to extend this deployment is reflective of the continued need to partner and act in line with New ...
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    1 week ago
  • Government provides support to tackle tax debt and compliance

    New compliance funding in Budget 2024 will ensure Inland Revenue is better equipped to catch individuals who are evading their tax obligations, Revenue Minister Simon Watts says. “New Zealand’s tax debt had risen to almost $7.4 billion by the end of May, an increase of more than 50 per cent since 2022. ...
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    1 week ago
  • Taking action to reduce road cones

    The Coalition Government is taking action to reduce expenditure on road cones and temporary traffic management (TTM) while maintaining the safety of workers and road users, Transport Minister Simeon Brown says.  Rolling out a new risk-based approach to TTM that will reduce the number of road cones on our roads.  ...
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    1 week ago
  • Celebrating 100 years of progress

    Te Arawa Lakes Trust centenary celebrations mark a significant milestone for all the important work done for the lakes, the iwi and for the Bay of Plenty region, says Māori Crown Relations: Te Arawhiti and Māori Development Minister Tama Potaka. The minister spoke at a commemorative event acknowledging 100 years ...
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    1 week ago
  • Foreign Minister to travel to Korea and Japan

    Foreign Minister Winston Peters will travel to the Republic of Korea and Japan next week.    “New Zealand enjoys warm and enduring relationships with both Korea and Japan. Our relationships with these crucial partners is important for New Zealand’s ongoing prosperity and security,” says Mr Peters.    While in the ...
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    1 week ago
  • Government creates MAG for retail crime victims

    The coalition Government is establishing a Ministerial Advisory Group for the victims of retail crime, as part of its plan to restore law and order, Justice Minister Paul Goldsmith and Associate Justice Minister Nicole McKee says.  “New Zealand has seen an exponential growth in retail crime over the past five ...
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